Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Right here, write now

At a recent Visioning workshop,  a designer-maker asked about writing press releases. This blog isn’t the place for a lengthy how-to -you'll find lots of detailed advice online (How to Write A Press Release for example)

 But, for a quick start here are my four basic tips*

  • Make sure you know exactly what story you want to tell. It is surprisingly easy to fall into the trap of loading your news with irrelevant details.
  • Aim for no more than 14 words in your opening sentence and tell everything concisely in your first paragraph – that’s all the editor may use. Make sure it answers these questions: Who, what, where when and how. And, why!
  • Check your spelling and grammar thoroughly – remember word processing spelling and grammar tools don’t think. They are weigh too dumb. See what I mean.
  • Top it off with a clear and attention-grabbing headline but watch out for unintended meanings -  such as ‘Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge’

* There's a rarely revealed tip. Forget the rules, type your story as it comes. Effective press releases aren’t written. Like all the best copy, they are rewritten.